CHICAGO (CBS) — Strong winds are creating big waves on Lake Michigan this morning, prompting a lakeshore flood advisory and gale warning through early this afternoon.
Winds coming in from the east have been producing waves of 8 to 11 feet since Wednesday night. City crews have installed barricades along the Lakefront Trail, warning people to stay away from the lake as massive waves crash ashore.
The National Weather Service has issued a lakeshore flood advisory through 1 p.m. Thursday. A gale warning also has been issued through 1 p.m., due to winds of up to 47 knots, which can cause hazardous conditions for small boats, especially for inexperienced boaters.
“There are some people that don’t really understand the power of the waves, and how much trouble you can get into if you do fall into the lake,” runner Dan Norman said.
Some runners who used the Lakefront Trail on Thursday were splashed with water as waves spilled across the pavement.
“I really respect the power of the waves, and I know not to get too close or risk falling in. Yeah, you do have to be careful, especially when the water is this cold,” Norman said.
As Norman finished his morning run, he stopped to take a picture of the spectacular view, and he wasn’t the only one.
“I come out every morning. I’ve been photographing Lake Michigan every day for the last three and a half years,” bicyclist Lincoln Schatz said.
Schatz described Thursday morning’s waves as “epic.” He visits the lakefront twice a day to take pictures.
“I keep a safe distance. It’s dangerous. The lake is really dangerous. It’s not uncommon several times a year for you to see the dive boats out here looking for people. So you have to be careful and respectful of Mother Nature,” he said.
While winds should die down this afternoon, and temperatures should rise into the 60s, severe storms are expected to move in this evening. There is a threat for heavy rain, gusty winds, and hail. The tornado threat is lower, but can’t be ruled out.